KRE Group breaks ground on Journal Squared’s third tower, shows off second tower views (PHOTOS). Principals from KRE Group and National Real Estate Advisors, LLC Tuesday marked two significant milestones at Journal Squared, the high-rise apartment complex with awe-inspiring views in Jersey City’s historic Journal Square neighborhood.

The development partners, along with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, celebrated the five-month lease-up of Journal Squared’s 704-unit second tower and broke ground on the project’s third and final building, a 60-story high-rise comprising 600 rental residences.

Located at Pavonia and Summit avenues and with direct access to the Journal Square Transportation Center, the three-tower development will ultimately total 1,840 rental residences and 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in 53-, 60- and 68-story buildings.

Journal Squared was the first major redevelopment in the neighborhood and has spurred an impressive spike in development in the Square.

“Thank you to the KRE team for your belief in Jersey City and belief in Journal Square,” Fulop said. “KRE has been a phenomenal partner for decades in Jersey City and willing to enter areas where few large developers would be willing to go. This has happened here in Journal Square, and you can now see the transformation occurring.”

The third leg of Journal Squared will rise 60 stories above the Jersey City skyline, providing dramatic views of the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and downtown Manhattan. The new tower will feature a collection of 600 rental residences complemented by 18,000 square feet of amenities.

The new social spaces will incude a performance lounge, karaoke room, and recording spaces. Residents will also enjoy a makerspace area, co-working lounge, lobby café and a sky lounge.

“Our intent all along was to complement the existing mass-transportation infrastructure with new residential, retail and open space to create a well-balanced lifestyle for residents that would also have a lasting impact on the city as a whole,” said Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE Group.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2024.

“Building upon the success of phases one and two, we look forward to continuing to contribute to the growth and vibrancy of Jersey City with the third tower,” said Jeffrey Kanne, president and CEO of National Real Estate Advisors.

Motorcyclist killed in New Jersy crash, cops say. A 32-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash in Manchester Township in Ocean County on Tuesday evening, authorities said.

Phillip Gurganious was riding north on Route 539 around 6:45 p.m. when he veered off the road and struck a utility pole in the Whiting section of town, Manchester police said Wednesday.

Gurganious, of the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township, was pronounced dead at the scene near the corner of Lincoln Boulevard, police said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Everyone knows an R. Kelly song. For me, the first one that comes to mind is “I Believe I Can Fly,” with that beautiful melody and the positive feeling it invokes.

Robert Sylvester Kelly, professionally known as R. Kelly, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer. At the height of his career, R. Kelly earned the nicknames “ the King of R&B,” “the King of Pop-Soul,” and the “Pied Piper of R&B,” which elevated his status in the music industry. Indeed, R. Kelly’s talent helped to redefine R&B.

On Sept. 27, 2021, he received another name: convicted sex offender.

This past weekend, on a beautiful Fall day, I spoke with four young men of color at a festival in Jersey City’s Hamilton Park. The guilty verdict came down last week and I wanted to hear what they thought about R. Kelly, the man and his music.

Jersey City resident, Dee Lynch sat down to take a break from a pick-up basketball game, he dabbed the sweat off his brow and shared his thoughts about R. Kelly and the verdict.

R. Kelly: Step in the Name of Justice

Dee Lynch, of Jersey City, says he’s filtering R. Kelly and his music, even the positive songs, out of his life. Photo by Ande Richards.

“My standpoint on R. Kelly is when he first was charged, I already had a bitter taste for his music after that. I try to erase some of the things that fulfill me out of his music out of my life. He had an opportunity to be a positive person, and he chose the opposite.

“I have young Black nieces, and I have a son. So, positive role models play a part in growing up in a Black community, and anybody that disrespects that role – Bill Cosby, you know, I just try to tune out.”

For almost a quarter of a century, R. Kelly’s musical legacy coexisted with dozens of accusations of sexual abuse with underage girls, including a dubious marriage to the late Aaliyah. The media covered these allegations over the years, but the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” gave voice to his victims, now survivors, and paved a path for a new trial.

Robin Castro, also a resident of Jersey City, makes his living as a D.J. He says the last time he played R. Kelly at an event it was not well-received, so he quickly changed the song.

R. Kelly: Step in the Name Justice

Robin Castro, a DJ who lives in Jersey City, says he won’t play R. Kelly’s music any longer. Photo by Ande Richards.Photos by Ande Richards

“I think they made the right decision for him to be guilty because we all saw it on camera like you can’t lie about what you did, so it’s not right. It’s not something men should be doing. Especially melanated men because I know he was bought up better than that. (Actually, he wasn’t because I saw the documentary, and he has family issues.) But that doesn’t mean anything; he should have known not to do what he did to the young girls.

“Well, the young women, there is more than one so. He’s not a role model. I don’t think any young man should follow that [example]. I used to be a fan of his music. Okay, so I don’t listen. I actually don’t play his music anymore because of that. I’m a DJ. The last time I played ‘Step in the Name of Love,’ the people didn’t like it, so I can’t play his music anymore, even though I used to like him as a fan.”

Last week, a jury in New York convicted the singer of all nine counts against him. His six-week trial exposed a system of trauma and abuse with many of the sexual acts he perpetrated against the young women too graphic for public consumption.

T Busi lives in Newark with his wife and three children, including a newborn baby. He thinks the verdict is correct, but the girl’s parents and Kelly’s handlers should also be investigated. He says they were complicit in the sex trafficking of these girls.

R. Kelly: Step in the Name of Justice

T Busi, a new dad who lives in Newark, says R. Kelly couldn’t have done any of those things alone. Photo by Ande Richards.

“I didn’t follow the case too closely, but it’s disappointing to hear some of those things coming out. I mean, I have a son and two daughters. Those are experiences that I wouldn’t want either of them to go through in life. In terms of his verdict being just or not, you know, that’s the verdict that was given to him. I accept it, whatever.

“But I think it’s also important to know that he couldn’t have done any of those things alone. So, I think that while we focus on the big name, that headline person, we also got to think like, what’s the motive behind it? Are we trying to root out the issue? If you’re trying to root out issues, you must go to the source, and you must figure out who was enabling him and allowing all of these things to happen. You know, the parents were also somewhat involved. I’m assuming people around him allowed for situations to occur. Obviously, he’s the man; he’s the name behind it. He was found guilty of committing those acts.

Kelly’s case also proved to be a significant step for Black women in the #MeToo movement. A turning point for Black women who have suffered because of negative characterizations that lead to little or no support from the legal system.

Damien Escobar of Jersey City watched his young son play in the sprinklers at Hamilton Park. He talks about R. Kelly with a heavy heart because he is a true fan of his music.

R. Kelly: Step in the Name of Justice

Damien Escobar, Jersey City, says R. Kelly is an extremely talented songwriter and performer. “I can only empathize and sympathize with him because nobody is born broken.” Photo by Ande Richards.Photos by Ande Richards

“Due process. It’s really unfortunate. I hope the verdict brings some closure to the victims. There’s a lot of lives that were shattered and torn apart, and I pray he finds peace. I’m a big fan of his music; my favorite song is all of them. I mean, you name it TP 2/Chocolate Factory, you name it, I love every R. Kelly record. The man wrote for Michael Jackson. He created the most timeless pieces of music that we can have.

“It’s unfortunate that with a lot of these artists that we grew up loving, they had so many issues — I can only empathize and sympathize with him because nobody is born broken. I’m saying some things happened to them along the way, you know, even like the likes of Michael Jackson, these people were hurting and, unfortunately, hurt people hurt people. You know, so it’s, this is a sad day for everybody involved.”

Now, when I think about R. Kelly’s music, another one of his hit songs comes to mind, “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” and I guess that sums it up. It seems like he’s ready… for a lengthy prison sentence.

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